School canteens waiting to make some business after a slump of the last two years have been hurt again with the extension of the summer vacation.
Usually, in private schools, the summer vacation starts in the second or third week of May and continues for about a month.
This year, the schools had to shut down early in May and extend their summer break again in June, following a government directive on both occasions.
After Covid, business has been slow because many parents prefer to send their children to school with tiffin. An extended summer vacation has only made things worse, said at least two persons who run school canteens.
“We were hoping to resume business after the summer vacation and had also cleaned the space. But the vacation has been extended,” rued Ratnesh Sah, who runs a canteen at St James’ School with brother Sanjay.
The brother said that in the last two years they had to run the household with practically no income.
“With schools reopening there was some hope... but this extended period of closure is adding to our loss,” Sanjay said.
The Sahs would sell items worth Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 every day in the pre-Covid times. “Before the school closed for summer vacation this year, the daily business on certain days was as low as Rs 2,000,” said Ratnesh.
Juhi Chawla Das, who runs a canteen at South City International School with her husband, said they had to let go of some employees.
“We have six employees now, some of who come on alternate days because business is still low. In April we could not break even. We had hoped to recover some loss in June, but it seems June will be painful, too,” she said.
“It is almost an extra month that they would not be able to run a canteen. After two years of loss, this will hurt them hard,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School.
Usually, school canteens are outsourced. The institutions only provide them the space.
“Those running our canteen had plans of doing up the kitchen and the cafeteria to increase footfall but everything had to be put on hold,” said John Bagul, principal of South City International School.